In the Philippines, there is a very common plant that you can buy from your nearest friendly, neighborhood market. This plant is called “tanglad” and in our culture, it, meaning the leaves, are used mainly for flavoring sour soups. We don’t really eat the leaves; we just chuck the vegetable in our chicken soup to make the broth a bit sourer.

No one could ever imagine that such a lowly plant could generate so much admiration. Also, awe from the medical and scientific community when early in the 21st century.  Various scientists managed to test lemongrass and found it to be a potentially powerful anti-cancer drug. A drug that could dethrone chemotherapy in fighting cancerous cells – but without the adverse effects related to chemotherapy!

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is usually known for its therapeutic and aromatic smell used as a Thai massage oil and as a natural air freshener. In fact, it was found to have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and now, ant-cancer benefits.

Studies ans Researches

In 2011, a study was published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research enumerating various ingredients existing in lemongrass which managed to produce the following health benefits: deactivate free radicals in the body, reduce inflammation, prevents malaria, protects your DNA from being damaged, balances cholesterol, eradicates harmful pathogens, promotes circulation (when applied as a massage oil), etc.

In 2009, a study printed in the Chemico-Biological Interactions Journal revealed that when injected in a concentrated essential oil form, lemongrass was able to positively affect 12 different human cancer lines, particularly in the arrest of tumor growth.

The study says that when applied to both ascetic (inside the liquid of the abdominal cavity) and solid tumors of Ehrlich Ascites (a type of cancerous tumor cell line), cancerous cell growth was arrested by 97.34% and 57.38%, respectively. Likewise, for Sarcoma-180 tumor cells, the same cell-stopping activity was recorded, with 94.07% (ascetic) and 36.97% (solid tumors) arrested respectively.

This means, the higher the dose, the more effective the outcome!

The same kind of tumor growth arrest was noted for cervical cancer and documented in the Pharmacognosy Communications Journal in 2013.

Other Uses of Lemongrass Oil

* As a seasoning, fresh lemongrass in Asian dishes like Thailand’s tom yum goong (hot and spicy sour soup with shrimps) is traditionally known not just for its sour and hot spices but it is also a contributor to Thailand’s low rate of digestive tract diseases among its population.

* Can be added to shampoos and soaps for its antiseptic and astringent qualities

* Popularly known in Asia for its anti-mosquito repellant qualities.

* Used to relieve menstrual cramps

* Apply as a liniment for headaches

* Used as a carrier oil to detox the liver and digestive tract

* Mix with water and use as an air freshener to reduce anxiety and induce sleep

* Remove a headache

Make Your Own Lemongrass Oil

Making your own lemongrass oil is very simple especially for those countries where it grows quite commonly (it is also readily available in Asian convenience stores in the US and now easily bought in grocery stores selling organic food).

Here are the steps to making lemongrass oil:

* Buy lemongrass stalks from the market or grocery with organic produce. Crush two of the stalks.

* Place them in a jar (a mason’s jar would be a perfect one), and pour a good carrier oil, enough to cover them. We recommend coconut oil as a carrier oil. You can also use olive oil or other oils that are commonly used as carrier oils.

* Store in a well-lighted place at room temperature.

* When the stalks have been steeped in the oil for a while, take them out and the oil and strain through a cheesecloth.

* Repeat the entire procedure by adding more lemongrass stalks until you managed to generate the right amount and consistency.

* Store the oil in a dark glass jar.

So do you think you can make use of lemongrass oil for your next relaxation session? Let us know your thoughts or any tips for making use of lemongrass as a healthy alternative in the comments below!

Image by alondav / CC BY 2.0